Ali Sanchez

Mets Should Not Trade Jeff McNeil For Francisco Lindor

The Mets have been linked to Francisco Lindor leading to various outlets comprising trade proposals. One such proposal from MLB Network has Jeff McNeil headlining a trade for Lindor.

Simply put, it makes zero sense for the Mets to trade Jeff McNeil even in a deal for a Lindor.

The need for Lindor is obvious, and the Mets would match-up very well with the Cleveland Indians. One reason why is the Mets have logjams at different positions with cost controlled players. Those players could fulfill a reciprocal need for the Indians.

At first base, the Mets have Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. Both would be a replacement and upgrade over the free agent Carlos Santana.

At shortstop, the Mets have Andres Gimenez, Luis Guillorme, and Amed Rosario. Any one of these three could be a short to long term replacement for Lindor.

At catcher, the Mets have defensive specialists in Tomas Nido and Ali Sanchez. That would at least seem to be of interest to an Indians team who puts a priority on catcher defense and framing. Notably, Roberto Perez will be a free agent after this year, and Austin Hedges will be one the ensuing season.

With the caveat of not knowing how the Indians value these players, or whether they’d take J.D. Davis off the Mets hands, it would seem mixing and matching from these groups could largely get a deal done.

Honestly, this is trading at its best. The Mets have a surplus of quality Major Leaguers at different positions. Those players would fulfill very specific needs the Indians have. This is why the Mets and Indians match up so well.

Of course, this assumes this isn’t an Indians fire-sale. Considering the Indians aren’t looking to trade Jose Ramirez, even with his being a free agent after the 2021 season, this appears to be a very safe assumption. That assumption would be bolstered by a presumed pursuit of McNeil.

The reasons why the Indians would want McNeil are obvious. He’s as versatile a player as there is in the game. He plays well defensively at second and both corner outfield spots. With work on his throws, he could be a very good third baseman.

In addition to his defense and versatility, he’s a good hitter. Since his MLB debut, McNeil has a 139 OPS+. Over the past three years, that ranks him as the 13th best hitter in all of baseball.

If the Mets are going to be bold and add players like Lindor, they need McNeil. They need his versatility, defense, and bat. Moreover, any deals the Mets make need to clear surplus and not detract from other areas.

In the end, the Mets have more than enough pieces to make a very good trade for both teams without including McNeil. With that being the case, there is absolutely no reason for the Mets to include McNeil in a trade for Lindor.

Look Past Francisco Lindor, Mets Need Mega-Deal With Indians

The Cleveland Indians are known to be floating Francisco Lindor, and with this being the Indians, they are looking to probably try to contend while also making any deals. That would make sense given their pitching and their keeping another perennial MVP caliber player in Jose Ramirez.

Still, the Indians want us to believe they are cash strapped and need to move a player like Lindor. Presumably, anyone not named Ramirez or Shane Bieber is available to be traded. If that is the case, the Mets need to push and push hard to get a mega-deal done.

In addition to Lindor, the Indians also have Roberto Perez. He’s a 31 year old catcher who is elite defensively with a still very questionable bat. Perez is a relatively expensive $5.5 million, and he will be a free agent after the season. For a Mets team who needs a starting catcher, Perez would be enticing. He also shouldn’t interfere with the presumed chase for James McCann.

On the pitching front, the Indians have Zach Plesac who was an issue for them in terms of the COVID19 infection. The Indians may be reluctant to move him pre-arbitration, and they should. Still, if there are issues between him and the team, the Mets are in a prime position to grab him.

Looking deeper than Plesac, there are useful bullpen arms like Nick Wittgren and a good fourth outfielder in Delino DeShields. Both players are arbitration eligible and could cost more than the Indians are willing to play them. Depending on a potential deal, the Mets could and should be interested in grabbing them in a potential deal.

In return, well, the Mets have plenty to offer the Indians. Given the glut at first base, the Mets could offer one of Pete AlonsoJ.D. Davis, or Dominic Smith. With Davis, the Mets could or should offer both. There is also Brandon Nimmo in the outfield as well as Andres GimenezJeff McNeil, and/or Amed Rosario in the middle infield. Certainly, if you can obtain Perez, the Mets should be willing to move Tomas Nido and/or Ali Sanchez.

If you are going to move from a pool of that Major League talent, thereby freeing up logjams, you can then be in a position to hold onto Francisco AlvarezRonny Mauricio, and/or the other Mets top prospects. That said, if the Mets are given a window to extend Lindor, all bets should be off. Looking at Mookie Betts last year, getting a top five player in his prime is a franchise changer, and it could be what the Mets need to get to the World Series.

All told, the Indians have some pieces the Mets desperately need. Between the Mets need to free up their logjams coupled with the Indians purported need to clear payroll and the Mets newfound financial strength, there is real potential here for a mega-deal. Hopefully, the two sides can get together and get it done.

 

J.D. Davis Allowed Jon Berti To Embarrass The Mets

As we’re seeing, the Mets are going to plug J.D. Davis at third base, and they’re going to bat him second in the lineup. If the Mets are going to do that, they are going to need more from him defensively.

Look, Davis is not good anywhere you put him in the field. That includes third base which is purportedly his natural position.

This year, Davis has a -3 DRS at third base. That makes his career mark a -14 DRS. Baseball Savant has not released the 2020 OAA numbers for Davis at third base yet, but for his career he’s a -2 OAA. All told, he’s simply not good there.

What makes it worse is how he plays the position. We saw that last night as Jon Berti embarrassed the Mets. That was largely made possible by Davis’ complete lack of awareness.

After Berti stole second, he would effectively steal his next two bases on Davis as Davis failed to cover third both times.

When Berti stole third, Ali Sanchez made a strong throw to the moving Davis. As Davis was late to react, he could do nothing more than catch the ball and trail Berti to the bag.

You’d think after that play Davis would be more attentive. Sadly, you’d be wrong.

On what now rivals Luis Castillo‘s dropped pop up as one of the most embarrassing plays in Mets history, everyone had to shoulder some share of the blame.

First and foremost, Sanchez needs to do a better job of looking back the runner. Yes, Berti turned, but Sanchez could’ve waited for Berti to get closer to third.

That mistake was exacerbated by the lollypop throw. That throw allowed Berti to take off for home. Between that throw and Jeurys Familia spiking the ball in front of Sanchez, Berti was able to score even though he fell down and did a bear crawl.

As bad as Sanchez and Familia were on that play, Davis might’ve been worse. Take another look at that play.

Berti has a big secondary lead. That’s partially because of how the defense was positioned with Jesus Aguilar was at the plate.

Despite Berti having a big secondary lead and his toying with Sanchez, Davis doesn’t move. Keep in mind, if Davis moves towards third, Sanchez might’ve had a chance to pick Berti off third. For that matter, if Davis moves towards third, Marlins third base coach Trey Hillman tells Berti, and Berti doesn’t even think of trying to steal home.

As bad as Davis’ lack of awareness was with Berti dancing down the line was, he made the situation even worse. Watch the play again. Davis doesn’t even move towards third until Berti falls.

A player is breaking from third base, the base he’s supposed to be protecting, and Davis is a complete bystander to the play.

It’s one thing for Davis not to be a strong fielder. It’s a whole other thing to be inattentive. That simply can’t happen.

Davis’ inattentiveness led to a run scoring, and the Mets being completely embarrassed. If this is the way he’s going to play in the field, it only further cements the fact he’s nothing more than a DH.

Time To Sit Amed Rosario

Last night, even with Ali Sanchez‘s spot in the lineup coming up soon, Luis Rojas made the decision to pinch hit Robinson Cano for Amed Rosario. In the backdrop of that decision was Andres Gimenez going on the IL for “undisclosed reasons.”

While the decision might’ve seemed odd in real time, the more you break it down, you can understand the move. Digging deeper, you really have to question whether Rosario should continue to be the everyday shortstop.

Fact is, Rosario is giving the Mets very little reason to play him at all.

Through 21 games, Rosario is hitting just .212/.212/.391. As you can probably ascertain from that batting line, Rosario has yet to draw a walk in any of his 85 PA this season.

In fact, going back to last year, he hasn’t drawn a walk over his last 138 PA. It’s one of the reasons he has a 45 wRC+.

Digging into his Baseball Savant page, there doesn’t appear to be a positive or signs of hope. His hard hit percentage, barrels, and exit velocities are very low. Also, for as free a swinger as he is, he cannot afford to have a below average contact rate.

The other issue is the Mets can’t use his defense as an excuse to play him. At the moment, he’s a -2 DRS at short albeit with a 0.5 UZR/150. Undoubtedly, he’s made strides defensively, but he’s still a below average fielder.

When you get a below average fielder who is completely lost at the plate, you get a player who is at a -0.3 WAR. Over a 162 game season, that’s on pace for a -2.2 WAR.

While this is happening, Luis Guillorme continues to push for more playing time. So far this year, Guillorme is hitting .433/.500/.533 with three doubles and six RBI.

Guillorme is a gifted middle infielder. He has the range and hands to play either position well. Admittedly, he’s a better second baseman, but he can definitely handle SS.

At this moment, it’s very difficult to justify playing Rosario everyday when Guillorme can play SS right now. At second, the Mets have their option of Cano or Jeff McNeil. Of course, Guillorme can also slide back to second when Gimenez comes off the IL.

All told, the. Mets have options. No matter the path they pursue, at the moment, they can’t play Rosario everyday right now. He’s being outplayed by everyone, and with the Mets having slim postseason hopes, they can’t spend time hoping it finally clicks for Rosario.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean give up on Rosario all together. He is far too talented and too hard a worker to do that. It’s all going to click one day, and the Mets will have a star on their hands.

It’s just that it’s not clicking now, and no one benefits by throwing him out there everyday. It’s time to sit Rosario, give him a mental break, work on some things, and to give the Mets their best chance to win. If all works out, Rosario can still be a big part of the Mets making the postseason.

Mets Offense Not Biggest Embarrassment In Marlins Doubleheader Sweep

In the first game of the doubleheader, the Mets were 0-for-10 at the plate with runners in scoring position. Things weren’t as bad in the second half as the Mets offense went just 0-for-5.

The no hits with runners in scoring position, the Mets offense was shut out over 14 innings. Even if the Mets played the other four innings, you’d be hard pressed to find an argument why they’d score a run.

In this game, the Mets offense had just two hits, and those hits were originally Red errors. That at least spared the Mets the indignity of joining the Pittsburgh Pirates in being no-hit today.

At least the Pirates faced Lucas Giolito. This Mets team really has no excuses.

The Mets inability to hit ruined a good return to the rotation by Seth Lugo. Lugo lasted three innings, and he didn’t allow a base runner while striking out five.

While Luis Rojas said Lugo was good for 60 pitches, he lifted Lugo after 39 pitches. Seeing how the fourth inning unfolded, he may want to revisit this decision (or text message).

For the first time this year, Jared Hughes didn’t have it. He walked Jon Berti to start the inning. After a one out single by Corey Dickerson, Brian Anderson hit a two run double.

Chasen Shreve would relieve Hughes and get out of the inning, but it was too little too late as the Mets couldn’t drive in a run.

It’s gotten to the point where the Mets are snake-bit. Case-in-point is the sixth. The Mets had runners on first and second with one out, and Luis Guillorme tattooed a line drive.

That ball was hit right at Marlins first baseman Lewin Diaz. Diaz caught the liner before easily beating the runner to the base to end the inning.

That sixth was a very curious inning for Rojas.

Despite Andres Gimenez on the IL, and with the Mets bench somewhat suspect now, at least in terms of bats, Rojas went to Robinson Cano to pinch hit for Amed Rosario.

After Cano beat the shift by slapping the ball the other way, Rojas tabbed Juan Lagares to pinch run for Cano. He did that even with Billy Hamilton being on the bench. Hamilton is a better runner and weaker hitter. The move made little sense.

As embarrassing as that was, there was Berti flat out embarrassing the Mets in the bottom of the sixth.

Berti drew a leadoff walk against Jeurys Familia. He would steal second. Later in the inning, Berti had a delayed steal of grief where J.D. Davis didn’t pay attention and then didn’t cover third.

That wasn’t the worst of it.

With two outs, Ali Sanchez had looked Berti back to third. Berti moved towards third as Sanchez lollypopped a throw back to Familia.

On the throw, Berti spun and broke for home. Even with Berti slipping, he was able to steal home as Sanchez couldn’t field the throw Familia had spiked in front of him.

It’s one thing to lose. It’s a whole other thing to be flat out embarrassed like this. The Mets lost 3-0. It might as well have been 100-0.

Game Notes: With this being a makeup game, the Marlins batted second. Even with the Marlins batting second, the Mets were still the home team. Jacob deGrom is slated to start tomorrow because the Mets wanted to keep him on his regular schedule. Sanchez had his first career MLB start.

Mets Return And Still Can’t Hit With RISP

After a Mets player and coach tested positive for COVID19, they haven’t played since Thursday. They came back to play today, and they didn’t figure out how to hit with RISP during their time off.

In the second, Jeff McNeil and Amed Rosario flew out with runners on first and second.

In third, Michael Conforto flew out and Pete Alonso grounded out with J.D. Davis on second. At least this time, Davis didn’t get picked off of second like he did in the first.

In the fourth, Rosario grounded out with runners on first and second.

In the fifth, Robinson Cano grounded out with runners on first and second.

In the seventh, Brandon Nimmo led off the inning with a double. Davis grounded out. Conforto reached on an error. Cano lined out.

0-for-10.

That was it. No, not because the Mets didn’t do anything afterwards. It’s because doubleheaders are only seven innings now. Mostly, it’s because Rob Manfred apparently hates baseball.

The Mets ultimately lost 4-0 because of their complete inability to hit with RISP. It also doesn’t help Rick Porcello struggled.

The Marlins got to him for three runs in the second. All three runs were scored with two outs. The key difference in the game was the Mets went 0-for-10 with RISP while Lewis Brinson and Miguel Rojas had two out RBI singles.

Porcello allowed another run in the third. It would be his last inning as he’d be pulled after a rain delay of over an hour. He was replaced by Corey Oswalt, who was the Mets bright spot of the game.

Oswalt allowed just one hit over the final four innings while striking out three. He’d also get some help from Dominic Smith.

Overall, this was a flat out bad loss by the Mets. They need to be better than this. Hopefully, they will in the second part of the doubleheader.

Game Notes: Andres Gimenez and Tomas Nido were put on the 10 day IL for “undisclosed reasons.” Juan Lagares and Patrick Mazeika were called up. Ali Sanchez was the 29th man for the doubleheader. McNeil batted eighth.

Nationals Annual Beat-Down Of Mets Continues

It seems at least once a year the Washington Nationals just embarrass the Mets. While much has changed in this COVID19 world, apparently, this tradition has survived.

Simply put, Steven Matz was terrible. Somehow, Paul Sewald was worse. Chasen Shreve wasn’t exactly sterling, but he looked like Cy Young compared to those two.

To fully put this debacle into perspective, with all due respect to Drew Smith, Luis Guillorme was the Mets best pitcher of the night.

Brandon Nimmo had a rough night in the outfield. He didn’t make an error, but he didn’t get to a lot of balls. He wasn’t the only one off during the Nationals 16-4 thrashing of a the Mets.

The Nationals hit four homers with two of them coming from former Met Asdrubal Cabrera. That included a true juiced ball homer.

You may remember Cabrera from his stint with the Mets. If not, you may remember him as the guy Brodie Van Wagenen didn’t give a courtesy call to when he instead opted to sign his former client Jed Lowrie, who had a busted knee.

Lowrie gave the Mets nine pinch hit attempts, and Cabrera helped the Nationals win the World Series. He also helped destroy the Mets tonight. So, thanks for that Brodie.

Really, the less said about this debacle, the better. It’s time to turn the page and just try to figure out how to piece together a starting rotation. Again, thanks for that Brodie.

Game Notes: J.D. Davis‘ hitting streak ended. Ali Sanchez made his MLB debut hitting into a double play in his only PA.

Andres Gimenez Shows Marlins He Belongs

It was a shock to see Andres Gimenez Matt the Mets Opening Day roster. It was a shock because his Double-A numbers weren’t off the charts. It was a bigger shock because there was no obvious opportunity.

With the recent slate of injuries coupled with his strong play, he’s currently an everyday player. As we saw today, he may be here to stay.

The Mets would win 4-2, and Gimenez was in the middle of each rally serving as a spark plug for the Mets offense.

In the third, he led off the inning with a single off Marlins starter Pablo Lopez. He’d immediately put himself in scoring position by stealing second.

Lopez would walk the bases loaded moving Gimenez to third. He’d then score on a Jeff McNeil RBI groundout. The second run of the inning scored when Corey Dickerson couldn’t field a Michael Conforto liner.

In the ensuing inning, Gimenez again set the table. This time it was a one out double. He’d score on a Brandon Nimmo two out RBI single.

In the sixth, Gimenez laid down a great drag bunt to lead-off the inning. The Mets would load the bases, and he’d score on a McNeil sacrifice fly.

Overall, Gimenez was 3-for-4 with three runs, a stolen base, and a double. He had three of the Mets eight hits, and he scored all three of the Mets earned runs. In the end, he did the near impossible in providing Jacob deGrom with run support.

With deGrom, he dealt with an issue on his middle finger. Some called it a blister. He called it a hot spot. It was no matter as deGrom is deGrom.

You could say it led to back-to-back walks in the second, but that might’ve been more the result of Home Plate Umpire Mark Carlson who was terrible, and that’s being kind.

No one had any idea what was a strike. The only thing we did know was deGrom was going to overcome it. In that second inning, he got out of a bases loaded jam unscathed.

It wasn’t until the fifth the Marlins would get to him. He missed on a pitch, and Jesus Aguilar hit a two run homer. At that point, the Marlins pulled to within 3-2. They’d get no closer even with deGrom being done after the fifth.

The Mets bullpen continued their impressive August.

Jared Hughes struck out two in a scoreless inning of work. Even with Dellin Betances hitting 92 on the gun, he pitched a scoreless seventh. Then, Edwin Diaz pitched in a set-up role.

Diaz was brilliant even if he was nearly victimized. He blew the first two Marlins away, and he should’ve stuck out Ryan Lavarnway, but Carlson blew the call.

Lavarnway singled on the next pitch. Then, Eddy Alvarez hit what appeared to be an easy fly ball. Instead, in what looks like the return of the juiced ball, it carried to the wall.

Fortunately, it didn’t go out. Diaz shook it off, and he struck out Monte Harrison on an absolutely overpowering pitch.

That left Seth Lugo to pitch the ninth. Lugo pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the 4-2 win. It was his third save of the season and first one inning save of the year.

Through it all, the Mets won their first series of the year. They did it featuring their homegrown talent, talent like Gimenez.

Game Notes: deGrom’s back-to-back walks in the second was the first time he did that in 25 starts. Michael Wacha landed on the IL with shoulder inflammation, and Ali Sanchez took his place on the roster. Dating back to last season, Nimmo has reached safely in 30 straight games.

Dominic Smith, Catcher?

Right now, players are finding ways to work out to stay in shape in the event baseball is played in 2020. For Marcus Stroman that means going out into the street and pitching to Dominic Smith.

What is interesting with Smith is this isn’t his first foray into catching. In fact, Smith told Michael Mayer of MMN he caught in high school. As seen above, he hasn’t completely given up on it as he was slated as the Mets emergency catcher in 2019. Overall, reviews of his limited work behind the plate are somewhat positive.

Looking at 2021 and beyond, Wilson Ramos is going to be a free agent, and Smith is a player who is blocked from playing his everyday position of first base by Pete Alonso. Seeing him catching Stroman, being an emergency catcher last year, and the positive reviews of his limited work back there, you do wonder if the Mets should try to move Smith behind the plate.

Before addressing the point in full, as noted by The Hardball Times, Jack Clements is the only left-handed catcher in Major League history to catch at least 1,000 Major League games. His last game was in 1900. To that end, you could consider him the only true left-handed catcher in Major League history, and he played in the Dead Ball Era.

There have really been a handful of left-handed catchers in Major League history (14 in total) with Benny Distefano being the last one to appear in a game. What is somewhat interesting about that is he played first base and the outfield from 1984-1988 before he was permitted to catch three games in 1989, which was a function of his preparing to be an emergency catcher. More interesting than that was the fact he didn’t catch in his professional career before those three games.

With his limited experience, Distefano noted the issues for a left-handed catcher were bunt plays towards third base as well as applying tags at the plate. (New York Times). The Hardball Times addressed this in their article, and they noted there is a slight issue with it, but they also noted a left-handed catcher would not have the same issues with a right-handed batter the right-handed catcher would.

The bigger issue is getting the tag down, which The Hardball Times confirms. On both issues, it was noted it is such a small part of the catcher’s duties it likely would not have a real impact on the game. That is all the more so when you consider the advantages a left-handed catcher would have including fielding plays right in front of the plate and catching breaking pitches from right-handed pitchers.

In total, at least in theory, there would be no real discernible difference between right and left handed catchers other than the fact seeing a left-handed catcher would look strange. In the end, it is not like a left-handed shortstop or third baseman where playing the position is an impossibility.

Seeing how it could happen, we revisit the question of whether the Mets should look to move Smith behind the plate.

Certainly, it helps he already has some experience in terms of high school, preparing to be an emergency catcher, and now catching Stroman. Being a first baseman, he is accustomed to the bunt plays towards third and making the left-handed throw to third base.

We know he has the agility to do it between his first base and left field experience. In terms of left field, we know he has the ability and willingness to learn a new position if it means helping out the team. Overall, he has shown himself to be a team first person, who may prove willing to do this. That may prove to be all the more the case if it meant a regular position for him.

In terms of the Mets, Ramos has a $10 million option for 2021 which may or may not be picked up. Tomas Nido is a defensive back-up with no remaining options. Ali Sanchez may be nothing more than a better defender and possible a worse hitter than Nido. The shot in the dark is Patrick Mazeika who is still just a part-time catcher in the minors.

Really, from an organizational standpoint, the Mets are exactly the team who should experiment with this. After all, Smith is an everyday caliber player, and he has the experience. More than that, he has nothing to do now but work out on his own and to meet up with Stroman to catch him.

The more he catches Stroman, the better prepared for the transition he will be. Speaking of Stroman, Jose Bautista working out with him led to his getting work outs to try to return to the Majors as a pitcher. At the end of the day, there isn’t much reason not to at least see if this could happen.

 

Apparently Mets Backup Catcher No Longer A Concern

As the Mets embarked on the offseason, Brodie Van Wagenen specifically said the Mets were looking to upgrade over Tomas Nido as a backup catching option. Given Wilson Ramos‘ durability concerns, Nido’s 40 wRC+, and pitchers like Noah Syndergaard pushing for a personal catcher, you could understand Van Wagenen’s position.

However, as it stands today, the Mets appear as if they are going to go into the 2020 season with Nido returning as the backup catcher.

Now, there are some reasons for that. Players who could have fit that mold like Robinson Chirinos and Jason Castro got starting jobs elsewhere, and they essentially signed for starter money. While we can have a debate as to the merits of not upgrading over Ramos, the fact is if the Mets wanted a pure backup, these players ultimately were not going to fit the mold.

Still looking past that, there were plenty of players who fit exactly what the Mets wanted, and yet the team didn’t strike. There was Francisco Cervelli, who signed a cheap deal with the Marlins. Worse yet, there was Kevin Plawecki who signed for under $1 million. More than any other player, Plawecki was the fit due to framing ability, familiarity with the pitching staff, and cost.

Now, when you look at the free agent market, there isn’t much left. At this point in his career, Jonathan Lucroy appears near done as a Major League caliber player. John Ryan Murphy never panned out to be the catcher some thought he might be. Really, when you parse through it all, there remains one viable option on the market – Russell Martin.

According to Baseball Savant, Martin is a strong pitch framer on the lower half of the plate. That should help Syndergaard and pitchers like Rick Porcello and Marcus Stroman. On that point, Martin actually caught Stroman.

He also had a decent season at the plate for a backup catcher with an 83 wRC+. Moreover, he is seen as a leader in the clubhouse, and he has already shown an ability to handle New York during his time with the Yankees. When looking at him, he makes a lot of sense for the Mets.

Of course, the Mets would still have to be interested in addressing one of the primary needs they laid out as the offseason opened. On that front, Van Wagenen has walked back those remarks a bit to indicate he is now comfortable with Nido and Ali Sanchez in Triple-A as his catching depth. You could see his point if he was addressing other areas of the team, but he isn’t.

Ultimately, the Mets are going to need an upgrade from their backup catcher. Based upon his career and 2019 season Martin is that guy. In fact, based on the market, he’s really the only guy remaining. If not him, the Mets are going to have to just hope Nido makes significant strides forward in 2020 while receiving very limited playing time.